INTERVIEW | Despite all brouhaha, Kerala government stays focused on welfare projects: Vijayaraghavan

In an interview to TNIE, Vijayaraghavan who is also the LDF convener, said senior Congress leader A K Antony has lost his credibility and he should first try to save his own party.

Published: 30th March 2021 05:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th March 2021 10:14 AM   |  A+A-

A Vijayaraghavan. (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The central probe agencies are resorting to unfair means like pressuring an accused to come up with false depositions, said CPM secretary in-charge A Vijayaraghavan. In an interview to TNIE, Vijayaraghavan who is also the LDF convener, said senior Congress leader A K Antony has lost his credibility and he should first try to save his own party. Excerpts: 

We have reached the last lap of campaigning. What’s your assessment of the LDF’s prospects? 

In today’s scenario, even amid a Centre-state tussle, the government was able to stay focused on welfare projects. We contributed to better digital education. While other states went in for privatisation of health and education sectors, we focused on quality improvement of existing infrastructure. That’s why the existing system was able to function even during the floods, Nipah and Covid. The Left is undoubtedly sure of continuing in power. 

The BJP is all geared up to put up a stiff fight not just in Nemom or Manjeshwar, but also in places like Kazhakoottam, Thrissur and Malampuzha. The BJP being the ruling party at the Centre is sure to use all its resources. We have, therefore, chalked out constituency-specific strategies for these places.

Do you think Central agencies have been targeting the Left government? 

The Centre is trying to sabotage the state government using its political power and central agencies are being used as a tool. Kerala has a non-corrupt administration and hence they are not able to do anything. That is why they resort to unfair means like pressuring an accused to come up with a false deposition against the chief minister. 

With the new revelations, central agencies are planning to question the speaker. Won’t this reflect in the polls?

They celebrated this even during local body elections, but what happened? Central agencies are being misused. Instead of doing their job, they barge into offices like KIIFB  — an establishment that has two major audits happening in a year. They should not underestimate people’s power. We are not afraid of such interference. 

Congress veteran A K Antony has said the Left continuing in power would be dangerous for Kerala.

That’s a pretty strange opinion to nurture. Antony himself has been a mute witness to the Congress dying in front of him. He should first try to save his own party from sinking into oblivion. Instead, he talks about LDF’s possible decay. It doesn’t contribute to his credibility, as there is obviously no love lost between him and the Left. 

The UDF has been targeting the Left over Sabarimala. Why does the the Left refuse to adopt a direct stance in this matter?

The issue is now before the Supreme Court. We need to consider it only when the apex court takes a final call. Why should we air our opinion before that? 

Will Kazhakoottam, where Sabarimala is being used as a major campaign tool, turn into another Nemom?

Never. The BJP is capable of approaching an election only by indulging in communal polarisation. In Nemom, it was the Congress which voted for the BJP candidate. But it will not be repeated in Kazhakoottam.

This time around, the BJP has fielded a number of fresh faces with a clean image like E Sreedharan.
Such candidates seem to propound immature political views when they justify the BJP’s negative approach. The public would not be swayed by their bureaucratic past. 

A major criticism levelled against you and the CM is that of indulging in communal campaigning. 
All we did was to criticise the League’s opportunistic approach and their truck with Jamaat-e-Islami. It was not directed against the Muslim community but against those who indulge in religious politicking of sorts. My criticism was not against Oommen Chandy or Ramesh Chennithala going to Panakkad per se but their murky reasons for doing so.

Before each election, some of your remarks tend to kick up major controversies, putting LDF in a spot.
Since they have nothing personal to say against me, some anti-CPM sections of media love to distort my words to generate baseless controversies. 

Do you mean to say all such controversies against you are politically motivated? In that case, why are there reports of the party asking you to mend your ways?

When there is nothing to use against us, the media starts analysing the structure and use of words and sentences that I happen to utter. 

The CPM has always corrected me. What is wrong in that? Had I made the same speech but not as the party secretary, no one would have had anything to say.  The Opposition leader has now brought up the issue of bogus votes. The voters’ list is not prepared by the government. How can then the government be party to the issue of bogus votes?

A section within the Left still feels Jose K Mani has received undue promotion. 

The candidate of each ally is being considered as an LDF candidate. For the first time in the state’s history, the Left is set to get continuity in office. The KC(M) entry will help the Left expand its vote base. New social groups, including upper middle-class farmers, will support the Left.  

The Latin Catholic community and the NSS seem to be headed for on open confrontation with the LDF. 
Latin Catholics have not adopted such a stance, as far as I know. The NSS has the right to express its opinion. Let the society think and decide. We can’t insist that everyone’s opinions should favour us.


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